Did you wake up this morning totally uninspired… in a funk… like you just don’t feel like playing guitar today? Maybe you thought about heading to the guitar room, but just couldn’t make yourself do it? Maybe you’ve felt this way for a few days now… or weeks…
If so, don’t worry… this is totally normal. We all go through guitar playing slumps from time to time. They can be pretty frustrating. The good new is, there are things you can do to get through them. The first step is to understand why you feel this way.
In this video, I break down the 5 main causes of guitar apathy. It’s titled “5 Reasons You Don’t Practice Enough Guitar,” but it’s mostly about the things you can do to make guitar more inspiring to you, and more present in your life.
5 Reasons You Don’t Feel Like Playing Guitar
1. You’re in the habit of NOT playing guitar.
Everything we do or DON’T DO in life is habit. The key then to building new habits is to attach them to existing habits. So if you’re in the habit of watching YouTube videos in the evening – try attaching the habit of playing guitar to this: For example, you could, for every video you watch, play 5 minutes of guitar. Try to pick things you do every day – like eat, wake, sleep, work etc. If you attach the activity of guitar playing to waking up for example, you are far more likely to do it… unless it’s the one morning you don’t wake, in which case I don’t think you’ll be bothered either way… or you might find yourself jamming with Hendrix, Lennon and the Big Bopper. Who knows?
2. You don’t have a plan.
If you don’t know what you’re going to play when you get in the practice room, you’re missing structure. Establishing the 3 legs of good guitar practice: technique, new learning, and fun, can fix this. If you incorporate these three things into your practice sessions you’ll always progress, and feel good about playing guitar. So how would this look in practice? Well, let’s say you have 15 minutes to work on your playing. Take the first 5 and practice some drill or technique that is something you need to improve – it could be a scale, or a riff, or changes between a couple of chords. Then take the second 5 and work on learning something new that challenges your current ability – a new song, or riff – something musical that you could perform to people. Then for the third part of your session, play something fun that you can already play well, and work on making it even better – this way you finish your session on a high note and you’d be surprises how many people don’t practice the stuff they already know. Don’t underestimate the power of working on skills that are well within your capabilities, there’s always room for improvement or experimentation. This is a key part of mastering the guitar.
3. You’re not making your guitar visible.
Where is your guitar? Is it in it’s case? Or in the spare bedroom? You know what they say? Out of sight out of mind. A better place for your guitar is on its stand, where you can see it. You probably spend the majority of your waking hours at home in your living room… put your guitar there where you can see it and I guarantee you’ll play it more often.
4. You’re not measuring your progress.
Those of you in management have probably heard the famous Peter Drucker adage, “What gets measured, get’s managed.” This is true of your guitar practice. If you can look back over your practice journal and see all the work you have or haven’t put in, it can help you identify the optimal times for practice for you. From there you can test and experiment with different approaches to see what works best for you. Make sure your journal is visible so you don’t forget about it… maybe you keep notes on a whiteboard, or a book you keep on your desk… whatever you choose, make sure you check in on it daily.
5. You’re not making it fun.
It’s amazing how many guitarists forget the fun aspect of learning guitar. Make sure you don’t by ensuring you are learning the things you want to learn, and taking time at the end of each practice session to riff on the things you love to play. If you can do that, along with some of the other ideas I’ve shared in this article, you and your guitar playing will be in a good place.
Did you enjoy this article? Are there some tips I missed? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.